Friday, October 20, 2017

Bhikkhu Bodhi on the Higher Dharma (video)

Unravelling the Mysteries of Mind and Body Through Abhidhamma (Sayalay Susila)

(Buddhist Association of the United States) 2013 Bhikkhu Bodhi Abhidharma Retreat (Part 1/15)
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
SESSION 1. Friday 8/30/13, 7:00 pm-8:15 pm. What is the Abhidhamma? 何謂阿毗達摩? How did it develop from the early teachings [preserved by the Theravada school]? 如何從早期教法開展出來? What practical relevance does it have? 與實修的相關性何在?

The Abhidharma (Abhi="Higher" or "About," Dharma="Teaching") is the Dharma presented in ultimate rather than conventional terms.

Sayalay Susila (
The sutras are taught in conventional terms as an aid to the practical grasp of truth in the service of meditation.

The Abhidharma goes further to explicate mentality and materiality (nama and rupa) in ultimate terms (of cittas and kalapas, "mind-moments" and "particles of perception"). Ultimately, rather than the conventions of language we assume, our lives are actually impersonal, impermanent, and unsatisfactory. The reasons are explained in the Abhidharma, things, such as implications and logical extensions, about the Dharma. Consciousness is fully (viññāṇa) explained.

I helped edit an excellent book on this topic written by the noble nun Sayalay Susila as she learned it from the enlightened Burmese Buddhist master Pa Auk Sayadaw. The book is very practical and applicable to daily life, as would seem unlikely for such a profound topic and voluminous material. But Burma was tasked with preserving Abhidhamma Pitaka (the "basket" or "collection" of Abhidharma materials), whereas Sri Lanka preserved the sutras, Thailand the Monastic Code.

No comments: